Most bad breath issues are caused by what’s happening in your mouth or throat, but those are the obvious reasons. If you are diligent about taking care of your oral health, bad breath shouldn’t be a thing!
Let’s get to the baseline. You have to do the basics first:
Brush and floss twice a day
Use alcohol-free mouth rinse daily
Clean your tongue every day
Be cavity free
Visit the dentist at least twice a year for your cleanings
Did you check off everything above? If you did and you still have chronic bad breath, there may be another problem lurking somewhere else.
Halitosis (the scientific name for bad breath) can more than likely be treated. However, if you’re not treating the root cause of it, you’re just covering it up. It’s almost like someone who never bathes but puts on cologne or perfume. The stench is still there, but the attempt to mask it is sometimes overpowering. So now you have what I call “Sweet Funk”!
We know that what you eat or drink can cause an offensive odor - garlic, onions, spices, coffee, beer. Let’s also take poor (or less than optimal) oral hygiene off the table; we know what that does. But there are a few other culprits out there.
Bad breath can also signify a more serious health issue.
It’s very important to maintain a well-balanced diet. Your body is talking to you! A high sugar diet is what bacteria dream about! Bacteria that live in your mouth are attracted to sugar. It feeds on the sugar, then it dies, and it emits a terrible odor.
On the flip side, a low-carb diet can also lead to bad breath. When your body doesn’t get enough sugar through a low-carb or keto diet, you will go into ketosis where your body uses ketones for fuel instead of glucose. This is the same for diabetics. While your waistline may look good, the process of getting there is quite smelly.
Let's talk about your nose. Have you ever dealt with post-nasal drip? This sinus issue results in the mucous from your nose dripping down your throat. Although the mucous doesn’t have a smell, it is, once again, a smorgasbord for bacteria. (See what happens to the people who eat a lot of sugar!) Talk to your doctor about nasal/sinus flushes or medications to treat the problem and see if your breath is fresher!
How about snoring? People who snore have more bad breath than those who don’t! Hard to believe? If you snore, you are snoring with your mouth open, and if you are sleeping and breathing with your mouth open, your mouth is going to dry out. The drier that mouth is, the more bacteria is going to take up residence and stink up the place. Ask your doctor about a sleep study and get your snoring checked out!
Here's another one: if you have GERD or acid reflux, the gasses from your stomach are backing their way up through your esophagus. The next way out is your mouth! Not only can the smelly gasses stink, but the acid can damage your mouth and the lining of your throat.
There are so many other medical conditions that have a correlation to bad breath. Some of them include liver issues, allergies, sinus problems, diabetes, dry mouth, kidney issues, respiratory and tonsil infections, blocked intestines, genetic disorders and certain blood disorders. Speak with your dentist and physician about what can be done about it.
Don't just take bad breath as something that's "normal". Recognize it and deal with it!